Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vets, jobless, homeless and outta smokes

A few days ago I was at the VA Clinic, unlike the time before when they made me leave by ambulance this time I was able to leave through the front door.  Since I'd had surgery a couple days before, my younger sister had driven me.  That meant Grandma had to come too..  My stepmother is just short of ninety, physically she's not in bad shape, for her age.  Her mind is a different mater, like I said, she's damn near ninety.

Nope, that ain't Grandma but a
Vet statisticaly likely to be

When I finished with the doctors, I found them in the smoking area just outside the front door..  I had to wait for some prescriptions, and by then my sister needed to use the necessary.  It was my turn to grandma sit.  Just about then, a guy walking out of the clinic asked if anyone had a cigarette they could spare..  Grandma always carries an open pack and an unopened back up pack, just in case she runs out, 

She still drinks too, a couple years ago she drank me under the table. but that's another story.

While I reaching for mine, Grandma said, "I have cigarettes,  I have extras too".  That's when I found out at least eight of twenty or so Vets in the smoking area didn't have any of their own.  Most of the eight were homeless and waiting for the free VA Bus to take them where ever.  There's almost always one or two out there hoping to bum a smoke, this was the biggest bunch I've seen yet.  A couple obviously had some sort of mental or drug related issues, most didn't seem to and one entertained grandma with stories.. until the bus came She didn't have a clue what the hell he was talking about, but a younger man (in his sixties) was showing her attention and she was eating it up.  It cost her an extra couple smokes, but the conversation was harmless and she was enjoying it, and not trying to wander off so I didn't interfere.. Besides I was thinking about the number of homeless vets out there that afternoon, eight out of twenty is a big percentage..

Yesterday Sandra suggested I take a look at an article on Bob Sikes's website Scathing Purple Musing,  Besides her spare time work on education reform for Grumpy Educators and Today I'm Grumpy About, Sandra spends a great deal of time working with returning Afgan and Iraq veterans.   This is how Bob Sike's Blog started off:

Jeff Miller Introduces Veteran Opportunity to Work Act of 2011

My congressman, Jeff Miller, is the chairman of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. The Hill has published his op-ed on his introduction of H.R. 2433 or the VOW Act.
60,000 veterans were added to the unemployment rolls in June. That brought the total number of America’s out-of-work veterans to over 1 million – a staggering figure. That is why I have introduced the Veteran Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 (H.R. 2433), or the VOW Act. All of us have an obligation to find solutions to get America’s veterans back to work. These men and women have defended our nation, only to return home to stand in an unemployment line. That is not the homecoming we promised them.

That made me think back to another time, and another war

Sometime during Vietnam, a major publication (I think it was the WSJ) published a piece warning businesses not to hire vets, because they were crazy, and unpredictable… To some extent that always has and always will be true of anyone who spent a year or more with an army of people they don't know going out of their way to try and kill them.

I wonder if part of the problem is businesses are still afraid of them?

That kind of crazy doesn’t mean they’ll make bad employees, on the contrary;  difficult or hard doesn’t bother them. and they’ve learned how to react quickly, independantly and creatively to changing situations.

Even so 60,000 newly unemployed vets, and an estimated total of over a million?  Those numbers are huge.  Without actually looking it up, I believe we only have about a million people total on active duty at the moment.  It's unlikely the 1,ooo,ooo plus includes too many older Vets..  If a Nam Era or Pre Nam Era Vet gets laid off he's most likely going to forget the unemployment line and head for the Social Security Office..  That means most of the unemployed vets are still on the good side of fifty, and most the very good side of thirty.

My first question is, How many of those new Federal Jobs Obama created go to Veterans, I believe Veterams Preference in Government Hiring is still officially in effect, but is it being adhered to by an administration  that very early on published a document calling returning veterans potential terrorist threats?  I don't know the answer, but I'd like too.

My second question is bit tougher and more direct.  I'd guess most of the people reading this either some small business owners and many of you of you know people in a position to make hiring decisions for larger companies.  Some of those people are themselves veterans who may not be aware how bad the situation is for returness.  Why not buy them a beer and have a conversation with them about hiring a vet?  Ask other people to do the same.  Every vet someone hired is part of the solution, and helps reduce the problem.

At least something gets done, beats the hell out waiting for Congress to get off their rear ends, and it costs taxpayers nothing.



  1. Back at it tomorrow guys & lovely young ladies. Fishy, there is a flip flop shop. Hate these mini keypads.

  2. All I can think of right now about this sad state of affairs with our troops is, "What happens when thousands more come home shortly, from Afghanistan?"
    Instead of releasing our troops with "no jobs" available, perhaps the government should find a way to support our men and women for 6 months after a tour of duty - time to allow each individual to settle in, back home?
    I'm sure those in the military will have better suggestions - suggestions that should be ehard in Washington, DC.

  3. When I got out of the service in 1975, i sure couldn't get a job, even after volunteering to work the first six months for free. Even 7-11 wasn't interested. About 10 years later, when the governor called to appoint me the the Lee County Commission, he said I had been highly recommended by the local legislative delegation, but he was very concerned about my military background. Seems the stigma hangs on.

  4. Bud, you know what I'd have told him....... I'm not the diplomat you are..

    Bee, It's a thought I'd hate to see them held... those guys want out, and they've done thier share

  5. Of course they want out Grumpy and if they have a job then let them go. Otherwise find a way to keep them on payroll while giving them a chance to settle in and find a job.

  6. Fishy, Jobs were tight when I got out, but If they'd said they were going to keep me past my separation date... until I found a job I think I would have waited until midnight the night I didn't get out and gone AWOL


    This organization is trying to help with job placement. There are quite a few organizations trying to help the needs, of which there are many. Multiple tours have been hard on soldiers and their families. The U.S. will be reducing combat presence and thousands will return.

    It made me very grumpy to read that some companies say there are no U.S. workers with the skills to fill open positions and used that as a reason for ed reform - a leap of logic in my book. Returning Vets come home with a wide variety of talents, skills, and smarts and representing one pool of workers available for employment. To say otherwise is a flat out lie.

  8. our borders [both of them!] need to be patrolled & guarded. money should be allocated for this purpose. what better use of the talents of these returnees could be made than to do what they've done during their past time served in the military? if they are in good health & willing, it could be a way to employ them, give them a feeling of usefulness, as well fill the void of not having border protection. some of the money that the fool, "O-bomb" is sending to foreign countries [that hate us, but take our largess] could be re-assigned to making our country safer. alphamom

  9. USMC, you made my day. Now I for sure have to get there. I did find a cute pair of "dressy" flops with jewels and everything. Those are my wedding shoes.


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